Home is not just the place where you happen to be born. It is the place where you become yourself. ~Pico Iyer.
Is one’s homeland the country where s/he was born or the country where s/he was raised? Does it matter? That was the question my colleague posed to her class. To me they are one in the same since I was born and raised in the United States.
If I think back to my grandparents who were immigrants I would have to say in some/many ways they may have longed for their “homeland” the country of their births – Poland and Italy.
My grandmom Ferrante probably was the clearest on what her feelings were on homeland. She came from Italy and met my grandfather when she was just 15. They married when she was 17 ½ , had nine children, and built successful businesses – an ice business, then coal, and finally an oil delivery company. My grandfather often returned to Italy to “show off” his good fortune or fruits of his hard labor to his family and friends “back home”. He wanted to retire and go back and live in Italy permanently. Grandmom, however, had a much different idea. She told him, “You made your money here. You will spend your money here.” She was not going back and leaving her nine children and ever growing gaggle of grandchildren. She was home.
What do you think? What is your homeland?
One thought on “Homeland”
I love this idea. I lived in China for four years, and taught kids with “passport countries” from all over the world. Someone much wiser than me said that living abroad is a dangerous things–because after that, your heart is never whole again–and all I can say is that they were right. While I was in China, even though I loved it there, I longed for the family, friends, and land of “home” here in the States. But now, even after several years back in America, there are still times when my heart aches for the people and places of my “China home.” I left a part of my heart on the other side of the world, and these are the consequences. But those years are rich years, and I wouldn’t take them back to keep my heart safe. It made me who I am.
Thank you for this post and the story of your grandparents. Brava!
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